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Golden Meadows gets budget boost

Town Board OKs dipping into reserves to fund $290K road project in 2005

Tamera Manzanares

For the first time in several years, the town of Hayden will be dipping into its reserves to pay for a large project involving paving and drainage work in Golden Meadows.

The project is among those included in the 2005 budget, which the Town Board adopted Monday. The meeting was a public budget hearing, however, no one from the community attended.

At an estimated $290,000, the Golden Meadows project will be among the most expensive capital improvement projects the town plans to pursue next year. It was among the tougher decisions facing the board, mayor Chuck Grobe said.

“It’s at a point that if we don’t do something to save it, it will cost us more to redo the road,” he said.

The board, after several work sessions, proposed funding more than $572,800 in projects, equipment and other needs in various departments. The town will need to transfer the full $290,000 from reserves to the general fund to pay for the Golden Meadows project.

“Everything else was within budget,” Grobe said. “We were pretty excited about that.”

After years of focusing on improving and replacing water lines, it is time for the town to concentrate on its streets. Nonetheless, it was difficult deciding to tap into reserve funds, built from years of conservative spending, Grobe said.

“It was a little bit of a stretch for some of us to do that,” he said. “But then again, it’s something you have to do from time to time.”

The town will have about $655,000 in reserves after the Golden Meadows transfer. Town officials have estimated the town would need about $650,000 to operate for six months in the case of a severe emergency.

There also will be about $81,500 available for contingency needs between the general and enterprise funds in 2005.

Other budgeted projects include installing culverts with drain boxes on Lincoln Avenue and recarpeting Town Hall and making other improvements to make the building comply with requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The budget also provides for a groomer for the cross-country ski track near Dry Creek Park and large lawn mowers for the Parks Department. The town also will be purchasing new computers and other equipment for Town Hall and the Hayden Police Department.

Taser stun guns for police and an equipment shed for the Hayden Recreation Department were among items the board decided not to fund in 2005.

Most capital improvement projects and expenses are included in the town’s general fund, which is made up of property tax and other revenues.

The general fund includes about $58,400 that will help pay for direct flights from Houston to Yampa Valley Regional Airport from September to December of next year. The town also helps fund street maintenance and operational costs at the airport.

In 2005, general fund revenues are expected to exceed expenses by about $120, according to the budget.

The enterprise fund, which includes tap fees, is projected to outpace utility expenses by about $118,000. Among the biggest expenses in that fund will be about $557,000 in capital improvements to the water treatment plant, which will include two additional water filters.

Also Monday:

n The board approved town employee salary increases that include a 3 percent cost-of-living increase.

n The board adopted an ordinance setting the mill levy for property tax in 2005 at 25.067 mils. That is a reduction from 25.284, the mill levy of the past four years. Property tax revenue is expected to be $290,597 for 2005.

n The board approved a resolution allowing the town to use about $53,000 in reserve money to pay for road and parking amenities at the Routt County Fairgounds and Dry Creek Park. The board informally agreed to share project expenses with Routt County in September, however, that project was not included in the 2004 budget.

n The board approved a resolution amending the 2004 budget to include unexpected expenses for a water line replacement and extension project that was budgeted in 2003 in was not completed until this year.

n The board approved Alena Scott as the appointee for the West Routt Library District Board of Trustees.

— To reach Tamera Manzanares, call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com


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